All About Art Therapy and How It Can Help You

All About Art Therapy and How It Can Help You

Potential of art therapy
SSDA USA is here to explain the potential of art therapy and how it can help you.

Many people think that drawing, sketching, painting, and other methods of creating art are trivial and inconsequential. But is this really true? Could it be that making art really does help people, especially those suffering from disabilities? Social Security Disability Advocates USA is here to more closely examine the potential of art therapy.

What is Art Therapy?

Art therapy is a method through which certified art therapists examine the emotions of their patients with the goal of improving mental and possibly physical well-being. Although its roots go all the way back to the 1700s, art therapy didn’t begin as a profession until the middle of the 20th century. British artist Adrian Hill invented the term “art therapy” in 1942. Hill, at the time, had been recovering from tuberculosis while in a sanatorium and discovered the positive effects that creating art can have. He documented the earliest of his work as an art therapist in his book Art Versus Illness: A Story of Art Therapy.

Artist Edward Adamson heard of Hill’s work, and the two partnered together to help patients in many other British mental hospitals. Adamson even opened a studio where patients could create art without fear of judgment or ridicule. Many other proponents of art therapy emerged during this time, and the British Association of Art Therapists formed in 1964.

Around this same time, American art therapists such as Margaret Naumburg and Edith Kramer began practicing. Naumburg’s attitude on art therapy, however, is different from Adamson’s. She believed the art was a symbolic extension of the patient that should be examined and analyzed. This is contrary to Adamson’s idea of letting patients draw whatever they wanted, free of judgment.

The American Art Therapy Association formed in 1969, and art therapy has ever since been considered a serious treatment option by doctors and patients alike. While most art therapy nowadays encourages analysis and examination, in tandem with Naumburg’s thoughts, it’s still certainly a good form of self-expression, as well.

Is There Any Evidence That It Works?

While quality research on art therapy is still emerging, the available data suggest that art therapy has positive impacts. Art therapy can help improve quality of life, ease stress and work burnout, help correct problematic behaviors, and aid against certain other psychological ailments. It can also bolster coping mechanisms and build social skills.

Art therapy can also be used in conjunction with other forms of therapy (e.g. cognitive-behavioral or group therapies) for optimal treatment. Additionally, there are possible positive benefits when it comes to aiding individuals suffering from a traumatic event and people with learning impairments. Really, scientists are only just beginning to explore the potential of art therapy. It’s possible that it may be able to help in ways beyond our current knowledge.

Is Art Therapy for Everyone?

While art therapy certainly has its benefits, it may not be for everyone. One should only pursue art therapy with the guidance of a licensed medical practitioner. Additionally, art therapy isn’t a cure or treatment for all conditions. Serious physical conditions, for instance, may not benefit much from art therapy and should be addressed via other methods. However, people with serious brain injuries, dementia, cancer, and some other serious conditions can still find meaning in art therapy.

Keep in mind, art therapy is not the same as an art class. It’s a serious form of communicating one’s inner thoughts as opposed to trying to copy the environment around them. Because of this, people suffering from abuse, violence, anxiety, depression, and other conditions could benefit from art therapy. This is because it allows them to express themselves without needing to worry about technique or criticism. It can be difficult for such people to deal with judgment, and art therapy tries not to hinder their expression. Art students without serious physical or psychological conditions, however, may benefit more from traditional art classes instead of art therapy.

What Does It Cost?

The cost of art therapy varies, depending on the program and what each individual seeks. For instance, a 50-minute group session from The Art Station costs $45.00. Compare that with an entire summer program offered by The Art Therapy Project that costs $2,000.

On average, though, art therapy sessions range from $100–$200 depending on the length of the session and whether it is an individual or group session. The good news is that people receiving benefits from the government (such as social security disability benefits) may be able to use their funds towards such therapies. Of course, one must make sure that their day-to-day essentials (e.g. bills, housing, food) are paid before spending money on therapy.

If you want to find an art therapist near you, try out this art therapist locator. You’ll be able to see if one practices in your area.

Want to Know More About Therapy and Social Security?

If you suffer from a disability and have questions about social security benefits, contact an attorney right away! SSDA USA is always standing by and ready to address your questions and concerns. Call us anytime at 602-952-3200. Alternatively, you can feel free to reach us online via a contact form or through our convenient LiveChat feature. Don’t keep your questions to yourself; contact us today!

This is attorney advertising. SSDA, LLC is a group of attorneys that pursues claims for Social Security Disability benefits on behalf of its clients against the Social Security Administration. SSDA, LLC is in no way a part of the Social Security Administration. Further, the information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, a representative-client relationship.

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